The Brussels Seafood Expo
23 May, 2013
FCI’s Business Development Manager Yannis Boudouropoulos talks about his attendance at the Brussels Seafood Expo 2013.
This year’s show exceeded any expectations I had before I arrived. It was by far the biggest expo I have been to over the last twelve months and it is two or three times larger than its ‘sister’ event, in Boston (USA).
Every hour it was buzzing with energy and many of the deals that started at the Boston Seafood Show in March were finalised here. I saw many familiar faces, clients and industry contacts and generally it was a great event to have participated in.
People always assume that the event is only about fish. But that’s not the case at all.
For example, on my way to the show I bumped into a lady who seemed pretty lost so I went over to speak to her. She was representing a kosher certification body and this was her first time at the expo.
Even though the main activity is to buy and sell fish, there is a growing focus on the services which surround the industry as a whole.
In many ways this was one of the reasons it was important for FCI to attend. We’ve had many good news stories and successes to share with our current customers and it was also a great opportunity to meet with potential clients and present our services portfolio to them.
It was also important for us to meet with key stakeholders and be there for their key messages. One of the biggest pieces of news was the announcement that three major aquaculture standard setters (GlobalGAP, Global Aquaculture Alliance and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council) had signed a memorandum of understanding and that they were going to work more closely together.
Assurance and traceability were two of the big topics for debate at the expo. Along with food safety and sustainability they are the main concerns for the industry. Brussels is a real reminder that businesses have evolved and they now realise that in order to survive and excel they need to invest seriously in these areas.
It’s obvious from the people I met and spoke to that companies who do not take assurance and sustainability seriously will find it difficult to survive in the future world of fisheries and aquaculture.